Durbin Commends Decision to Award a Nearly $6 Million Grant to Support Businesses in Northern Illinois

[WASHINGTON, D.C.]  - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today commended the Department of Commerce (DOC)’s decision to award a $5.9 million for a program administered by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater that will provide comprehensive entrepreneurial support to businesses in Northern Illinois in order to create jobs and spur economic development.

“This project brings together six counties across two states, four universities, three technical colleges and a number of non-profit and private sector business development groups,” said Durbin.  “It employs a creative, comprehensive approach to job creation in a region where most communities are facing double digit unemployment.  Winnebago and Boone counties stand to benefit greatly from this grant award.”

According to the DOC, the project is part of a larger regional collaboration that will provide comprehensive entrepreneurial support at every stage of business development through the sharing of resources, facilities, curriculum, training, and collective expertise.  This grant is one of several economic development grants that have been distributed to communities across the country that have been affected by closures and mass-layoffs at auto manufacturers and suppliers.

On June 9, Durbin joined with six other members of Congress in sending a letter to the DOC in support of the program.  Other members signing on to the letter include: Senators Roland Burris (D-IL), Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Representatives Tammy Baldwin (D-IL), Don Manzullo (R-IL) and Paul Ryan (R-WI).